The Household Cavalry Museum: Day Trip #17

What to do when the girls of my household are in London to see a musical leaving me in the capital city with a few hours to kill until they come out of the theatre? Why, visit a military museum, of course!

I decided that I’d walk down to Horse Guards Parade and take a look around the Household Cavalry Museum which is housed within the buildings there. Horse Guards was subject to some redevelopment in 1758 resulting in the Life Guard being based at the site, a tradition that continues to this day. In the 19th Century, the Duke of Wellington as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army used Horse Guards as the British Army HQ. In the 20th century it shamefully was allowed to become an enormous civil service car park, but it reclaimed its dignity and eventually reverted back to its original purpose as a parade and events ground in the 1990s.

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Horse Guards Parade on the day of my visit. The entrance to the Household Cavalry Museum is centre, left of the three archways and just behind a statue of Field Marshall Wolseley.

The entrance fee is £8 which, though modest enough, is slightly more than many of the other military museums I’ve visited (many of which are free), but for London that’s positively cheap!

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On entry, I soon found the display of the modern-day Full Dress uniform for which the Household Cavalry are famous worldwide. The uniforms are based on a 19th century-style heavy dragoon with polished steel cuirasses. The two regiments of the Household Cavalry have distinctively different uniforms; the scarlet tunics and white plumes of the Life Guard and the navy tunics and red plumes of the Blues and Royals. The colours of these regiments are a tradition which goes back a long way. For the Blues and Royals, their uniform harks back to the Horse Guards of the late 17th century.

Also in this contemporary display were the instruments of the mounted band. It was terrific to see the polished kettledrums and drum banners of a regiment which still uses them even today.

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The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) has a lineage that goes back to the distinctly un-royal cuirassiers in the Parliamentarian Army in the Civil War (known as ‘Haselrigge’s lobsters’). An example of this type of armour is on display.

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In the early 19th century, Wellington’s Household Brigade performed a famous role in the Battle of Waterloo, comprising both regiments of the Life Guard and the Royal Horse Guards. The Royals (the 1st Dragoons who would later merge with the Blues) took part in the same general charge as part of the Union Brigade, in the process capturing a French Eagle. Helmets from this charge were on display. The images below show a Royals helmet top and a Horse Guards helmet below:

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Back in 2016, I posted on a series of cigarette cards featuring British cavalry uniforms, one of which included this trooper below of the Royal Horse Guards in 1815. The same helmet but with the crest and plume in place can be seen.

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A life-sized model reproduced the moment that Captain Alexander Kennedy Clark of the Royal Dragoons captured the French Eagle of the 105th Line. An original heavy dragoon helmet with horsehair plume could be viewed close up in a cabinet too. Great for comparison with my own 1st Royal Dragoon figures painted for the Nappy Cavalry Project a few years ago.

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My figures of The Royals. British Heavy Dragoons by Waterloo 1815.

After Waterloo, the British Army enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace in which Britain and it’s forces were largely pre-eminent and unchallenged on the world stage. This allowed the army to explore more extravagant uniforms of immense grandeur, often without such indulgence ever being exposed to the proving ground of hard campaigning. With the prestigious Life Guard and the Royal Horse Guard regiments, this trend reached particularly exuberant proportions in the realm of headdress, as can be seen below in this 1832 Life Guards helmet with its outrageous bearskin plume.

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Life Guards helmet, 1832-43.

The plume can be seen to be protruding slightly further forward on the helmet seen above compared to the design that it succeeded shown below.

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Life Guards helmet, 1817.

This older 1817 design replaced the iconic, though short-lived, Waterloo helmet. The new design’s astonishing plume had its drawbacks, however, and apparently unbalanced the riders who wore it, hence the 1832 redesign. It must have nonetheless been a terrific sight in Full Dress occasions such as parades or reviews.

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My aforementioned series of British cavalry uniforms on cigarette cards also pictured this helmet on a trooper of the Horse Guards in 1818.

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Another version of this style of bear-crested ‘Romanesque’ headdress was this version worn by the 1st Dragoons, ‘the Royals’. There are notable differences, however. The helmet has been ‘Japanned’ in a black lacquer and has ornate gold-coloured leaf designs featuring on both the sides of the helmet and on the chin scales.

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It’s an imposing piece of headgear, though another piece I discovered was arguably even more so. It was a headdress which I had been hoping to see up close for a long time. Described by the museum as a ‘bearskin cap’, this particular specimen was worn by a captain of the Life Guards at the coronation of the Prince Regent in 1821 and reflected the obsession that the would-be King George IV had with Napoleon’s recently defunct Imperial Guard.

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The grenadier badge is a direct reference to Napoleon’s grenadiers. The ‘comb-over’ plume is made of swan feathers. Once again, another of those cigarette cards depicts this headdress. In fact, it reproduced the exact same coronation headdress on display in the museum, describing the illustration as “an officer of the Life Guards in the full dress uniform worn at the Coronation of George IV”. Notably, the artist has wrongly envisaged a direct copy of the French version with a shorter swan plume, a front plate and other Imperial Guard details, different to the original shown in the museum.

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It would hardly be the Household Cavalry museum without plenty of cuirasses on display. Below is the cuirass worn at the same coronation as the bearskin cap. It’s quite a curious shape, quite elongated, which I suspect may have made being mounted for long periods uncomfortable.

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The difference in cuirass shape can be clearly seen when compared to the version below;

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For ceremonial occasions, cuirasses could be incredibly ornate. The black lacquered cuirass in the photo below was worn exclusively for the state visit of the Russian Tsar in 1814, no doubt deliberately resembling the Russian cuirassiers’ own black versions. It was interesting for me to discover that cuirasses were therefore being worn by the Life Guard, albeit briefly, pre-dating Waterloo. I’d always assumed that the regiment’s encounter with the French cuirassiers had been the instigator of a relationship between the cuirass and the Household Cavalry.

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There was a particularly nice display relating to Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby of the Royal Horse Guards. To the Victorian public, Burnaby was a famously heroic character; the epitome of the recklessly brave Victorian adventurer. Being a member of the Victorian Military Society, he was already familiar to me and I have encountered a number of accounts of the man and his life. Burnaby was larger than life in every sense; being 6ft 4in tall, immensely strong and 20 stone. In the Victorian era such vital statistics was particularly impressive. As sense of the man’s still considerable stature could be gleaned from standing near his uniform, cuirass and boots.

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Feats of his astonishing physical strength and endurance was subject to many anecdotes. Most of all, his adventurous and impetuous spirit guided him through many solo adventures across Central Asia, Spain, the Balkans and Russia at a time when being in the Royal Horse Guards meant limited exposure to direct military action.

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Finally, desperate to see some combat, Burnaby took an unofficial appointment in the 1884 Sudan campaign. He subsequently died in desperate hand-to-hand fighting at the Battle of Abu Klea. One wonders whether his ceremonial cuirass would have proved of real value in such fighting? The boots displayed above were the same ones he was wearing when he was killed in the act of recklessly engaging the famously fierce Sudanese Hadendoa warriors virtually single-handed. The knife and it’s scabbard seen above are Sudanese weapons found on the field of battle where he lay. The book is a copy of “A Ride to Khiva”, Burnaby’s own popular account of his astonishingly daring trip to the distant silk road city which was then a newly acquired part of the Tsar’s empire.

Nearing the exit, I saw a poignant exhibit from aftermath of the IRA bombing of the Blues and Royals near Hyde Park in 1982. Four soldiers and seven of their horses died in the atrocity. The ornate dragoon helmet on display has been grotesquely damaged and deformed by the blast, a sobering reminder of just how far removed the smartness and beauty of traditional British army ceremonial uniforms are from being appropriate military equipment in the modern era. With the story of the wounded horse Sefton, it was also a reminder of how much appalling suffering cavalry horses must have endured through the ages.

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To conclude with, a few more images of uniforms through the ages included in which is Lord Uxbridge’s artificial leg! Uxbridge was Wellington’s 2nd in command at Waterloo and in command of the Allied cavalry (he even recklessly joined the charge of the Heavy Brigade).

Recently, I also encountered another exhibit relating to a member of Wellington’s senior staff when I saw Lt-General Picton’s top hat displayed in the National Army Museum. Just as Picton’s hat reminded me of a famous scene in Dino De Laurentiis’ superb film “Waterloo”, so this leg also made me recall another scene from it; when Uxbridge (played by Terence Alexander) tragically loses his leg to a stray cannonball at the very conclusion of the battle:

Uxbridge: My God sir, I’ve lost my leg.

Wellington: My God sir, so you have!

On exiting, I took a final snap of a statue situated right outside the museum door. The statue commemorates a former colonel of the Horse Guards, the esteemed Victorian Commander-in-Chief, Sir Garnet Wolseley. He is sitting astride his mount and looking out across Horse Guards Parade. Another colossus of Victorian generalship, Lord Roberts, is just yards away, mounted upon his own plinth.

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Glancing at my watch, I decided I still had plenty of time before meeting my wife and daughter. So I walked off down to the excellent Guards Toy Soldier Centre which is outside The Guards Museum and just off Birdcage Walk…

The King’s Horse Guard (Nappy Cavalry Project Regiment #28)

My second regiment from HaT’s Napoleonic Swedish Cavalry is The King’s Horse Guard (Konungens Livgardet till häst). The box contains just the 1 pose of this regiment, reproduced in 3 figures which I’ve doubled up via the purchase of an extra box. So it’s not so much a regiment, as a squadron – but enough to guard a Crown Prince at any rate!

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Their horses are a chestnut-coloured selection of Swedish Warmbloods, a breed used by  today’s successor regiment to the Livgardet till häst in ceremonial duties. In Napoleonic times, any reasonable pony often would have had to suffice but I’ve been generous to this exclusive guard detachment and referenced their modern equivalents with this colour of mount.

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Having the same pose is not a problem with this group, I think. With swords drawn and advancing calmly at the walk, they look entirely like a guard regiment out on royal duty or parade. A more energetic action pose would have been less appropriate for these royal dandies.

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The unusual mid-light blue uniform (I’ve used Vallejo Andrea Blue) and distinctive headgear with white plume and facings make them a decorative addition to my project. It seems that selecting a shade of blue wasn’t just a problem for me. Regarding the modern regiment, Wikipedia says that;

The colour of the parade uniform worn by the cavalry was in the 1950s changed to match the officer’s “mid-blue” shade: (a slightly lighter colour) for all ranks. In the 1990s, the colour was again changed, apparently in error, to a royal blue colour. The shade for other ranks is now to revert to mid-blue, while officers will retain “middle blue, slightly lighter.”

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Before the regimental biography commences, I perhaps ought to ponder on which regiment to tackle next in the project. I’m determined to clear the box (at least at some point) and there are three regiments remaining: the Småland Light Dragoons, the Scanian Carabiniers, and the Skjöldebrand Cuirassiers. All look quite interesting… but I’ve randomly chosen the Småland Light Dragoons to be the 29th regiment in the project!

 

 


Biography: The King’s Horse Guard [Sweden]

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HaT’s own website contains a great overview of the Swedish cavalry during Napoleonic times including an extensive section by Björn Bergérus on the Horse Guards which I respectfully reproduce below.

Taken from an original text by Björn Bergérus, Stockholm, Sweden 2005-2006.

This unit originated in Finland (based in Borgå/Porvoo, very close to Helsinki). The unit was promoted to Guards’ status – Lätta dragonerna av Livgardet (The Light Dragoons of the Life Guards) – after the bloodless coup d’état of the Swedish king Gustavus III. In 1793 the unit was renamed Livhusarregementet (The Life Hussar Regiment), and in 1797 Livdragonkåren (The Life Dragoon Corps) and finally got the name Livgardet till häst (The Horse Guards) in 1806.

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Contemporary illustration of a 1798 uniform of the Konungens Livgardet till häst.

The unit was composed of three companies (later called squadrons) of 50 men each. When inspected in 1771 the commander found “that all dragoons were made up of Swedish or Finnish, all happy, well spirited and particularly beautiful people”.

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In the bloodless coup d’état by Gustavus III in 1772, the unit’s commander Jakob Magnus Sprengtporten took a force of some 1.000 men and sailed to Stockholm from Finland to support the king. Due to poor winds, however, he arrived only some two weeks after the successful coup d’état. The king was nevertheless very grateful and made 100 men of the unit into the King’s personal bodyguard to reside in the capital of Stockholm. Sprengtporten was also made the commander of both the Foot and Cavalry Guards. The new guard unit was given the name Lätta dragonerna av livgardet – the Light Dragoons of the Lifeguard. History tells that the old guard regiments – the Life Regiment and the Foot Guards – found it hard to regard the dragoons as their equals with resulting petty disputes between officers and even coming to blows between the troopers.

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Swedish king Gustavus III

In 1777 the two parts of the regiment – in Sweden and Finland respectively – were amalgamated to the Stockholm area, counting four squadrons of 200 men total. In 1793 the name was changed to Livhusarregementet – the Life Hussar Regiment. At the end of the 1790s the unit was reduced to two squadrons and the name changed to Lätta livdragonregementet – the Light Life Dragoon Regiment.

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1783 incarnation of the Lätta livdragonregementet uniform.

About 90 troopers from the regiment were present during the campaign in and around Swedish Pomerania (North Germany) against the French in 1805-07. The campaign was fruitless, as the troops eventually had to retire before a more numerous French foe. The commander Löwenhjelm and four troopers still got medals for bravery for a delaying action during a crossing of the river Elbe.

The regiment’s name was changed again in 1806 to Konungens lifgarde till häst – the King’s Horse Guard – or simply the Horse Guards.

The regiment also fought in the Russo-Swedish war of 1808-09. One squadron took part in a landing operation against Turko/Åbo that resulted in hard fighting that is said to have lasted for 14 hours. The commander von Vegesack writes of the Horse Guard that they “fought as a guard should fight; they have with the greatest manly courage endured the renewed attacks of the enemy and never fallen back a single step”. Many troopers were mentioned for their good conduct during this battle, like trooper no. 4 Lind, who had “shot nine Russians, and freed himself and five men of the militia from captivity”.

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Cornet Carl Fredrik Reinhold von Essen dressed in the uniform of the King’s Horse Guard, 1808. Painting by Carl Fredrik von Breda.

Later during the summer of 1808 a new landing attempt was made to cut off the Russian supply from their bases in the south of Finland. Three reduced infantry regiments, a battery of guns and two squadrons of Horse Guard took part. The landing force was soon engaged by the Russians, but could give support to another Swedish brigade at Lappfjärd under the Swedish General von Döbeln (immortalised by the Finnish poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg). After a successful engagement the Horse Guard could pursue the fleeing Russians. Von Vegesack then joined the main army and took part in the battle of Oravais close to Vaasa in Western Finland September 14th 1808. Here some 5-6.000 Swedes-Finns faced some 6-7.000 Russians – the only major battle of the Russo-Swedish war 1808-09. At first it looked good for the Swedish-Finnish, but the battle finally ended in a Russian victory.

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Contemporary print of the action at the captured the city of Umeå, Russo-Swedish War of 1808-09.

During the winter of 1808-09 four squadrons of the Horse Guard were stationed on the Åland Islands, between the Finnish and Swedish mainland. Here several small skirmishes took place with Russian Cossacks – often on the frozen ice between the small islands. During one of these events, a trooper named Kämpe of the Horse Guards (Kämpe meaning ‘fighter’ in Swedish – soldiers were often given these short “soldiers’ names” that were easy to remember) is recorded to have cut one Cossack in the throat and broke his lance. The Swedish defenders were eventually forced to retreat over the frozen waters from Åland to the Swedish mainland before the advance of more numerous Russians. The Horse Guards covered the retreat, and was engaged several times in small skirmishes with harassing Russian Cossacks.

In August 1809 a final Swedish push was made with a landing designed to take back the town of Umeå on the Swedish mainland. The Swedish force was composed of 7.000 men, more numerous than the defending Russians. Two squadrons of the Horse Guards were present, although fighting on foot. The Swedish command was as slow and hesitant, as the Russian commander Kamenski was eager and determined. The Swedish suffered from not having mounted cavalry as scouts and overestimated – as usual – the strength of the Russians. After some fighting the Swedish chose to retire and re-embark – the landing having been a failure. Five troopers of the horse guards nevertheless got medals for bravery.

With the peace in 1809 Finland was lost to Russia and made into a Grand Duchy under the Russian Tsar. A total of 24 medals of honour had been awarded to the men from the Horse Guard during the war.

The regiment was seriously decimated by the war – upon inspection the regiment had 95 horses present of which 34 were rejected for further service and about the rest they were said to be “very poor, due to serious fatigue, cold and – for the horse’s maintenance during the end of the campaign – a far too inadequate supply of food”.

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During the campaigns of 1813-14 the Horse Guard mainly served as escort and bodyguard to the newly elected Crown Prince of Sweden, the former French Marshal Bernadotte, now commander of the allied Army of the North. The Horse Guard also functioned as a recruiting base for dispatch riders. In Germany the regiment also got new beautiful light blue hussar uniforms made up by the fine tailors of Berlin.

After the short war with Norway in 1814 the Horse Guards were stationed in Fredrikshald, Norway, for some two months together with other Swedish troops to guarantee the peace treaty, in which Norway accepted Bernadotte as their king, joining a union with Sweden that lasted until 1905.

Notable campaigns: Swedish Pomerania (1805-07), Russo-Swedish war of 1808-09, War of the Sixth Coalition (1813-14).

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British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The Royal Horse Guards

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#18: The Royal Horse Guards

“Popularly known as the “Blues”, this regiment was raised in 1661 and is the only cavalry regiment in existence which formed part of the Parliamentary Army during the reign of Charles I. This is a trooper of the “Blues” at the time of Waterloo.”

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Trooper, Royal Horse Guards, 1815.

Sites of interest about the 8th Hussars:

National Army Museum page on the Royal Horse Guards.

My own Waterloo-era Horse Guards figures.

The Household Cavalry Museum in Horse Guards, Whitehall, London.

Excellent short historical overview of the regiment on the British Empire site.

British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century: The Royal Horse Guards

A series of regular blog posts displaying images from “British Cavalry Uniforms of the 19th Century”; a set of trade cards issued by Badshah Tea Co. of London in 1963. 


#12: The Royal Horse Guards

“The Royal Horse Guards or “Blues” were raised at the same time as the Life Guards but did not become part of the Household Cavalry until 1827. This is a uniform of a trooper of the Horse Guards in 1818.”

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Sites of interest about the Royal Horse Guards:

National Army Museum page on the Royal Horse Guards.

My own Waterloo-era Horse Guards figures (in uniforms worn just prior to this one).

The Household Cavalry Museum in Horse Guards, Whitehall, London.

Excellent short historical overview of the regiment on the British Empire site.

Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) [Nappy Cavalry Project Set #10]

Well, we’re heading for the end of September and it’s time to reveal my completed 10th Nappy Cavalry regiment; the Royal Horse Guards with figures by Revell. I’ve said in other posts that these figures, the first in the project by Revell, are very delicately sculpted and that this certainly makes for a challenge for the painter. The extra care and effort may be worth it, I think, as this is a fine set of figures. The poses of both horses and riders are varied though maybe lacking a little of the same ‘joie de vivre’ as the hussars by Waterloo 1815. I’m glad that I chose to depict the Blues, but am now seriously tempted to have a go sometime (though possibly next year) at their sister regiments, the 1st and 2nd Life Guards. Now – on with the pics and the biography!

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Biography: The Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) [Great Britain]

Founded in August 1650 in Newcastle upon Tyne by Sir Arthur Haselrig on the orders of Oliver Cromwell as the ‘Regiment of Cuirassiers’, it was also known as the London lobsters! Charles II, on his return to England after the Restoration, transferred this former New Model Army regiment of horse formally into a Royal regiment. Although nominally ‘royal’, the regiment didn’t actually achieve the same full privileges as the other household regiments, the Life Guards, until 1820. The Earl of Oxford was its first colonel and it is thought that the regiment’s signature blue uniform dates right back to this time as the Earl of Oxford’s troop, and indeed it was first nicknamed “the Oxford Blues”. As a royal regiment, the officer class was made up of only the very wealthiest of the country’s nobility.

Initially deployed outside of the capital, the regiment was often used in policing and escort duties or in suppressing rebellion, most notably in the battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. In 1689, after the Prince of Orange came to the throne, The Blues were part of the allied army that defeated the French at Walcourt, near Charleroi, where they successfully charged the best French infantry. They would most memorably return to action in the same Flanders region against the French 126 years later, at the battle of Waterloo.

The regiment featured in a number of important battles of the 18th century including the Battle of Dettingen, where a British monarch led his troops into battle for the last time. At the defeat at Fontenoy, the Blues suffered particularly badly from cannon fire though their performance throughout still won them praise. In the 7 Years War, they were present in the notable battle of Minden, and also took part in the victorious charge at Warburg where the British force routed a French one three times their number. Similarly successful actions occurred during the French Revolutionary Wars.

After the Napoleonic wars commenced, The Royal Horse Guards were only embarked late in the Peninsular Campaign but distinguished themselves in the Battle of Vitoria, a victory which marked the end of French occupation of Spain.

During the 100 Days campaign, the regiment were in Lord Uxbridge’s Cavalry corps as part of Lord Somerset’s Household Brigade of heavy cavalry. On the day of the battle of Waterloo, The Blues drew up in the reserve second line behind the Life Guards. Their commander, Lt Col Hill, was wounded in the clash with the Delort’s cuirassiers whilst another senior officer, Major Packe, was run through and fell dead off his horse. Their total day’s losses amounted to 99 casualties (46%) out of the two troops taking part, but they had played a crucial part in the final victory by soundly defeating the French Cuirassiers and d’Erlon’s infantry. It should also be noted that the actual Colonel of the regiment at this time was none other than the Duke of Wellington himself!

Notable Battle Honours: Sedgemoor, Culloden, Flanders, Dettingen, Fontenoy, Warburg, Beaumont, Peninsula, Waterloo.

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Simkin’s Soldiers

Even as a boy, I’ve always had a keen interest in military art. In pre-internet days (remember those?) often the only way to see such art was in books borrowed from the library. Many favourites I can still recall today; Philippoteaux’s depiction of Waterloo or Fontenoy; Lady Butler’s “Steady the Drums and Fifes”, “The Roll Call” or the charge of the Scots Greys in “Scotland Forever”; Charles Fripp’s “The Battle of Isandlwana” was on my bedroom wall, whilst Terence Cuneo’s painting of Lance Sergeant Smith winning the Leicestershire regiment’s first VC in the Crimea could be seen in my local museum.

I’ve received through the post today a copy of the 1982 book “Uniforms of the British Army: The Cavalry Regiments”, which features many of the watercolour paintings by Richard Simkin. Simkin was a military artist from the late Victorian period whose output was truly prodigious. Whilst in no way perfect, he was far ahead of most of his peers both in terms of quality and historical accuracy. Though not averse to painting action scenes, his speciality was in uniform depictions. He would fulfil commissions for individual regiments or complete a series (as he did in a huge project lasting over a decade for the Army and Navy Gazette).

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Simkins’ depiction of the various uniforms of the 1st Royal Dragoons (a regiment that I painted last month).
17th Lancers, 1814 to 1848.
17th Lancers, 1814 to 1848.
A 'red lancer' of the 16th (The Queen's) Lancers regimen, c.1912.
A ‘red lancer’ of the 16th (The Queen’s) Lancers regiment, c.1912.

Aside from the many fabulous full colour plates of Simkin’s beautiful work, the book is packed with information on the history of uniform development covering all the British cavalry regiments (4 Guards, 7 Dragoon Guards and 21 numbered line regiments).

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Another regiment I painted earlier this year depicted by Richard Simkin; the 13th Light Dragoons (later to become the 13th Hussars)

Perhaps it’s come a little late for the Nappy Cavalry Project as I don’t think I’ll be painting any more British cavalry this year. Nevertheless, I’ll be spending many a happy hour browsing through its pages. This is his depiction of the Royal Horse Guards in 1815. I’ll be presenting my own painted 1/72 scale model versions hopefully a little later this week…

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The Blues. Simkin depicts the officer here wearing high boots, but these would likely have been disgarded on campaign.
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Royal Horse Guard (Officer) dated from 1815.

Yer Blues

Just a quick update on Royal Horse Guard progress. They’re mounted and, barring a few touch ups and painting the trumpet’s speckled cord, the figures are just awaiting basing. I’ve enjoyed tackling these figures, perhaps because they’ve presented a different challenge. In fact, I’m considering the possibility of producing a 1st or 2nd Life Guards regiment to match at some point in the future (though not this year)…

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Blue Notes

Nearly finished those Royal Horse Guard riders and so I’m now looking to start work on their horses. These Revell guys are certainly tricky, there’s not much sculpting detail to hang my paint on, so I have to be steady with my brush. That said, I do really like them and all that hard work seems to have paid dividends.

There’s some considerable disagreement in the internet world about how they were exactly supposed to look in 1815. As always, I do aim for historical accuracy but where there is any doubt, I’m more than happy to opt for whatever I like the look of best.

It’s just a coincidence that I’m now painting the Blues when I’ve only just recently painted the Royals. These two grand old regiments merged in 1969 to form the Blues and Royals, whose troopers can commonly be seen in London – still dressed in their blue coats – when performing ceremonial duties as part of the queen’s personal bodyguard.

Here’s how they are progressing:

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The Boys in Blue

Firstly, a positively glowing review from the occasionally uncharitable Plastic Soldier Review on the new Waterloo 1815 British Heavy Dragoons set that I’ve recently painted. PSR is not always so unstinting and I thought that their 8 out of 10 for the number of poses in the set (with just 2 horse poses!) particularly generous. That said – with a little work – the set does really look great and I’m pleased to see the work coming out from Waterloo 1815 finally getting such recognition.

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Meanwhile, the signs of early Autumn has arrived over in the UK and I’m now getting down to the final regiments in this year’s cavalry project. The aim is to paint maybe 4 more or so before ending with a grand parade of all the finished regiments. This review will be attended, it is hoped, by a significant personage with a small mounted entourage. I won’t reveal the name at this stage, but I think it could very possibly be guessed who it is…

The next regiment in the Nappy Cavalry Project will be…the Royal Horse Guards! Also known as “The Blues”, this prestigious regiment made up a part of the 1st British (Household) Brigade at Waterloo. The set I’m using is Revell’s Life Guards set. Although the set states Life Guards, it can also be used for the virtually identical sister regiment in the Household Cavalry, the Royal Horse Guards, the only obvious difference being the Life Guards wearing a scarlet coat and the Horse Guards a blue one (hence their nickname).

This is the first regiment attempted in the project to make use of Revell figures, and it’s clear that the sculpting style of Revell is slight and slender, but anatomically very accurate. Painting these is something of a challenge without all the crisp detail demonstrated by the Waterloo 1815 hussars set I’ve just finished. I’ll just have to give it my best shot. Here’s some pics showing early progress:

RHG in Progress (3)

RHG in Progress (4)